ONLY ON NEWS 3 – “They Killed My Father”

Donald Johnson died at the Chatham County Jail in 2014

“They killed my father.”

Those are the words of the daughter of a Chatham county inmate who died in custody in 2014.

Now she has a lawyer and is speaking out about the jail and the healthcare provider she says is responsible, Corizon.

Rochon Johnson-Gordon admits her father was no angel.

Donald Johnson was behind bars for charges stemming from a money laundering case but he hadn’t been convicted.

But she wants everyone to know he wasn’t just another inmate. He was a man, he had a family and he was loved.

Video shows the last moments of Donald Johnson’s life, in 2014.

Donald Johnson died at the Chatham County Jail in 2014
Donald Johnson died at the Chatham County Jail in 2014

Paramedics doing CPR, trying to keep his heart beating. Trying to keep him alive.

Johnson’s daughter says this scene should never have happened.

“I know he would be here if he never went there (jail),” said Rochon Johnson-Gibson.

Johnson had hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and the medical team at the jail knew it.

It was written down on their charts, and in phone conversations from the Chatham County Jail, Johnson himself even said he told them.

“When i came here I told them I had high blood pressure sugar diabetes,” said Johnson in the recordings.

But according to Donald Johnson’s daughter, Corizon, the jail health care provider at the time, didn’t keep up with the 68 year old’s medicine.

Donald Johnson's family blames Corizon, the health care provider at the Chatham County jail in 2014, for his death
Donald Johnson’s family blames Corizon, the health care provider at the Chatham County jail in 2014, for his death

“My dad would inform me on a daily basis that he wasn’t getting something checked whether it was his blood pressure, his diabetes medication. Something wasn’t being done,” said Rochon Johnson-Gordon.

Johnson was suffering from Hypertension, diabetes and high blood pressure. His charts showed medical professionals at the jail knew of his condition
Johnson was suffering from Hypertension, diabetes and high blood pressure. His charts showed medical professionals at the jail knew of his condition

“How many times did you call to complain about him not getting his medicine?”
“My dad was in there 3 months and i would say it had to be 20 something times.”

Jail medical charts show Corizon health was checking Johnson’s blood sugar, but in his own words, the numbers..

“My blood sugar be going up and down, up and down,” said Johnson in the 2014 phone conversation.

According to the family’s lawyer Will Claiborne, it wasn’t until one doctor was let go and a rotating shift came in that Johnson’s fate was sealed.

“Starting with September 24 and for 6 weeks until he died his blood pressure was not checked once,” explained attorney Will Claiborne. “His blood pressure had been checked before that but from September 24 until he died of a massive and preventable heart attack on November 13, 2014 his blood pressure was not checked a single time.”

A failure that Claiborne calls “deliberate indifference”. All designed to save money by not calling in paramedics or outside specialists.

Johnson’s family calls it tragic, and preventable.

“(When I got the news) I hung up on my mom and i called the jail and said you let him have a heart attack didn’t you,” explained Johnson-Gordon. “Nothing is changing and its all because they want a damn bonus at the end of the year.”

“He’s been 70 years old this Sunday and the only place we have to go is his grave,” said a teary-eyed Johnson Gordon.

Donald Johnson’s family has not filed a lawsuit yet, but also hasn’t ruled it out.

Corizon, the Chatham County Jail health care provider in 2014 has since been fired and already faces a lawsuit in connection with the death of Matthew Ajibade last year.

News 3 asked Corizon for comment on these claims. They wrote “We won’t have a comment due to the need to protect patient privacy and the litigation.”.

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